California’s Orange County is known for its year-round mild weather and wide range of attractions. Residents enjoy shopping, fine dining and entertainment. Over three million people call Orange County home, making it the sixth-most populous county in the nation. The largest city in the county is Anaheim, and attractions including Disneyland can be found in this city.
History of Orange County
Orange County had been inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before Spanish settlers moved into the area in the 18th century. Missionaries and soldiers traveling from Spain started to colonize Orange County in 1769, and Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in the area that is now Orange County in 1776.
Cattle ranching was the primary activity taking place in Orange County for the next 74 years, with California becoming part of the United States in 1850. Gold mining was the new draw to Orange County and the surrounding areas, and the economy thrived as people flocked to the area to mine gold and help support the miners through agricultural pursuits.
Anaheim was founded in 1859, and Orange County became its own county in 1889. Agriculture gradually declined in the area, and the county shifted to a manufacturing economy by the 1950s. As theme parks and attractions were built up, tourism and the service industry grew.
Orange County Demographics
According to statistics collected and compiled by the United States Census Bureau in 2010, there are 3,010,232 people living in 1,059,986 households in Orange County. Median home value is $519,600, and the median household income is $75,422. Approximately 58 percent of residential properties in the county are owner-occupied. The median age is 36 years, and approximately one-quarter of the population is under the age of 18.
Business and Economy
Many major companies that operate nationally are headquartered in Orange County, providing employment opportunities for residents. Examples include Linksys, Blizzard Entertainment, Taco Bell and Hurley International. Regional headquarters of tech companies including Samsung and Toshiba can be found in the county, and car manufacturers like Mitsubishi and Hyundai use Orange County as a West Coast business center.
As previously mentioned, tourism is a major industry for Orange County. Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure and Knotts Berry Farm all attract millions of visitors each year, and the Anaheim Convention Center supports the efforts to attract tourists to the area by holding major conventions like WonderCon, an event affiliated with Comic-Con, and Star Wars Celebration.
Orange County Weather
One of the biggest draws to Orange County is its mild weather. Highs range from the mid-60s to the mid-80s throughout the year, with coastal areas seeing slightly lower temperatures. It is rare for temperatures to dip below 40 degrees during winter nights. The period between November and March is the wettest time of the year, although annual rainfall still falls below 13 inches for most areas.
Interesting Orange County Facts
These interesting facts about Orange County highlight its quirky and fun nature.
- Buena Park was once home to an alligator farm.
- Newport Beach was once home to a buffalo ranch, and a bronze buffalo statue now stands at the intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and Bonita Canyon Drive to commemorate the ranch.
- The first West Coast National Boy Scout Jamboree was held in Irvine in 1953.
- Orange County is served by the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.
- In 1978, a pregnant hippopotamus named Bubbles escaped from a safari park in Irvine by burrowing under the wall of her enclosure.
There are several community colleges and universities located in Orange County, giving residents the opportunity to access high education without moving away from home. Top-rated colleges in the county include the University of California in Irvine, California State University in Fullerton and Orange Coast College, a community college offering two-year programs.
Many famous people grew up or spent much of their lives in Orange County. Some notable examples include actor Gene Autry, actor Marlon Brando, director James Cameron, author Philip K. Dick and golfer Tiger Woods.
Orange County Links
OC.gov – Orange County government homepage.
Orange County Clerk-Recorder – Dedicated to making the Orange County records readily accessible yet confidential
Orange County Water District – Committed to ensuring safe and quality water for Orange County residents
OC Animal Care – Open administration animal shelter located in Orange County. Strives to the lives of all
– A large and useful directory of Southern California businesses. Based in LA but also covers surrounding SoCal counties.